Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark’s editor in chief. Cameron Woo is The Bark’s publisher.
Monday is the big solar eclipse day. If you are wondering if you need to do anything special to protect your dog’s eyes, luckily most experts say there is little need to worry.
“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it, either,” Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri, said at a news conference with NASA on June 21 in Washington, D.C.
Pet safety expert, Melanie Monteiro also agrees. She teaches online pet first-aid classes and is the author of “The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out,” and she says animals shouldn’t need the same eye protection.
“There’s really no reason to be concerned about that,” she told TODAY. “Dogs and cats don’t normally look up into the sun, so you don’t need to get any special eye protection for your pets.”
But if you are taking your dog out while watching the eclipse, Monteiro said putting them on a leash is important. And make sure if you are looking up at the eclipse (with special eclipse glasses, of course), make sure your dog doesn’t take your cue if you get overly excited and “look” at what is making you freak out.
"Animals are actually quite a bit smarter than we are when it comes to looking directly at the sun," says Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science for communications at NASA, which is including the Life Responds project as part of its citizen science outreach in conjunction with the eclipse.
Some of said though that dogs might appear upset or frightened, and perhaps howl, run away, seek cover—similar reactions associated with fireworks.
Best bet is to keep your dogs inside, but let us know if you catch your dog doing anything out of the ordinary.
Dog's name and age: Elizabeth (Lizzie), 7 years old
After deciding to get a dog, we headed to the local pet store where a rescue group had two puppies, Elizabeth and Isabella (Lizzie and Izzie). My husband took one look at their paws and walked away saying those dogs are going to get really big. Of course, I couldn't walk away without at least holding a puppy. I immediately knew that was the type of connection I wanted to have with a dog. We left that day without Elizabeth and saw dogs from a few other rescue groups but I never got that feeling again.
Two weeks later we went to an adoption event where Elizabeth, Isabella and their sister Gracie happen to be. My husband (who didn't remember these were the dogs from a few weeks ago) held up each girl. Gracie was terrified, Isabella nipped him on the nose and Elizabeth gave him kisses all over. He looked at me and said "I like this one." We filled out the adoption papers with the rescue group that day and brought her home about a week later.
Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter gives advice on having dogs at parties
Question: Is it OK to let a dog roam around a party?
Answer: A dog may be man’s best friend, but, let’s be honest, not all humans like dogs and not all dogs like all humans. For most party hosts, this isn’t a big issue: They know their dog and will put it in a crate, the yard (weather permitting) or an area of the house where the pet will be comfortable.
Or they will let the dog wander about, knowing that it is calm and not a food thief or constantly underfoot. Most hosts also know the guests who are coming over, and most guests will know that the host has a dog. They may have already met the dog and are expecting it to be present.
Problems arise when the dog has characteristics or tendencies that distract guests or make them uncomfortable, or when a guest has fears or allergies.
I suggest that you always warn new guests that you have a dog (or other pets). That way, if they have fears or allergies, they are aware of the situation ahead of time.
I also suggest that if you have fears or allergies, it’s OK to make them known. “Sarah, I would love to come on Friday! I have a true phobia of dogs, so I have to ask: Do you and Kevin have a dog?” The conversation can then evolve into what the host and guest feel comfortable with in regard to the dog and visit.
If you haven’t talked with your host about your fear or allergy and show up to the party to find Fido free-roaming, it’s OK to speak up to your host.
Just remember that how you say something is just as important as what you say. A calm tone (as calm as you can muster if your fears are kicking in) and offering a suggestion rather than a demand will be better received.
“Beth, thank you so much for having us. I’m terribly sorry, but I didn’t realize that you have a dog. I have a very real fear of them. Would it be possible to keep him separate from the party?”
Most hosts will be accommodating. Also, you can choose to suggest that you leave the party. Not that I think it’s the best solution, but stating that your allergy or phobia is severe enough for you to have to excuse yourself is certainly an option. “Beth, I’m so sorry — I forgot to tell you that I have a very severe dog allergy, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stay for the party. I would love to get together another time.”
Either way, you should feel confident in your communication, and if you aren’t able to stay for the party, suggest another time or place to get together.
The best time of year is late summer – the weather is its warmest and the days are long. Even though fall is around the corner, many states experience hot weather well into autumn. Take advantage of the gorgeous outdoors now and be active, especially with your dog! While exercise is crucial to your and your pet’s health, it’s important to remember that the soaring temperatures can be harmful and easily lead to overexertion. Your dog doesn’t need as much exercise in hot weather and should be eased into any activity during the summer. Use the Poof Pet Activity Tracker to monitor your dog’s activities and keep your dog smiling and comfortable.
Read on for six tips to keep your furry friend safe, happy, and exercised this year!
1. Become an early bird – or a night owl
If you normally go on your daily walks during the day, it might be time to set your clock back or push it forward to stroll safely. Whether you choose to get up early or stay up late, Fido will appreciate the cooler temperatures when the sun isn’t high overhead.
2. Swim in the lake…or in the kiddie pool!
It may seem like a no-brainer, but water is the perfect solution to hot weather dog exercise. Whether you live by the beach, a gentle river is a walk away, or a lake is within driving distance, getting your pup into cool water is perfect for summer. Simply do an Internet search for dog friendly beaches, lakes, or rivers in your area and get moving!
If a natural water escape isn’t nearby, try setting up a kiddie pool in your yard! This is also a great alternative for dogs who are afraid of deep or shifting water. Ramp up the fun by including water toys like floating frisbees, splash balls, and decoy ducks. Some dogs will even dive for their toys! The Poof Pet Activity Tracker is waterproof do you don’t have to worry about your furry friend jumping in the water.
3. Take to the trees for a shady forest hike
Hiking is a great source of exercise for you and for your pup. If you have any forest trails nearby, the shade can provide a perfect respite from the hot summer sun. Plus, the dirt trails stay cool and ensure that your buddy’s paws won’t get scorched!
4. Wet pup’s belly and paws to keep him cool
If your only option is to exercise when it’s hot, bring a wet, frozen cloth or a bottle of water along. The belly and paws are great areas to dampen and are more effective at keeping your dog cool than his back. Bring along extra water for drinking and a small, collapsible bowl. Remember: if you need a water break, so does your furry family member.
5. Keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion
During summertime exercise, one of the most important things to watch for is heat exhaustion in your pet. Excessive panting, lethargy, confusion, and bright red gums and/or tongue are all signs of heat stroke. Additionally, if Spot lies down and refuses to get up, he needs water and a break. Never force a dog to keep going if he exhibits these signs; get him to a shady, cool place to rest and recover.
Bonus: Remember that dogs can get sunburned too! Sunscreen is crucial for dogs with sparse, light colored hair. Baby sunscreen doesn’t contain toxic chemicals and is safe to use on your pets. Just keep away from sunscreen with zinc oxide, as it is deadly to dogs if ingested.
6. Use the Poof Pet Activity Tracker
Make sure your pup stays on a path to good health by using Poof Pet Activity Tracker. Use this light weight device to easily monitor your dog’s everyday activity and sleep 24/7. Track your morning (or evening) walks this summer with your pup and see how many calories they burned. Keeping your pet fit and well rested is the best way to ensue your dog is happy and healthy. Plus share your dog’s activity and photos of your adventures with other Poof Pet Parents.
Bark Readers: Save 40% off the The Poof Pet Activity Tracker with the offer code BARK40.
Dog's name and age: Khaleesi, 3 years
Khaleesi was adopted after her fur-brother, Dmitri, had trouble with separation anxiety. He began tearing up the house any time his family was away. After consulting their vet and trying many things nothing would work to calm his nerves, that is until Khaleesi. They adopted this sweet girl as a comfort companion for Dmitri and it worked! Dmitri and Khaleesi are now inseparable.
More on Khaleesi:
Khaleesi loves going on walks, going to the dog park, swimming in the river, or just sunbathing in the backyard. She is a happy girl with a lot of personality. She loves to chase squirrels, birds and her brother Dmitri. Her favorite toy is a soccer ball and she has a blast playing soccer with her daddy.
Dog's name and age: Gabriel, 5 years
Gabriel was adopted two months after the previous family "Argus" dog died of cancer. His family enrolled Gabriel in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study which is a study that aims to determine what causes cancer in Golden Retrievers.
Gabriel is one busy pup, in addition to being a therapy dog with Intermountain Therapy Animals he is also a R.E.A.D. dog. Being a R.E.A.D. dog means he gets to go to elementary schools where the children (usually first and second grades) read to him. He also attends Paws-to-De-stress at Montana State University during finals week to help college kids relieve stress. When he's not volunteering, he loves playing with people and his fur friends during a good game of fetch.
America’s first art exhibition for dogs, dOGUMENTA, opens at Brookfield Place New York this Friday, August 11! Not by or about dogs, dOGUMENTA is a curated art show for dogs. The exhibition invites artists to create work addressing the canine sensibility through a variety of media—from sound and sculpture to kibble and squeaky toys.
The concept for dOGUMENTA was born during art critic Jessica Dawson’s New York gallery walks with her rescue dog, Rocky. It was clear that Rocky saw art differently than humans, ignoring New York Times reviews and artist resumes and engaging directly with the work. Dawson realized that Rocky had something to teach human art lovers, and that he and his friends deserved an exhibition of art all their own. dOGUMENTA offers an unprecedented opportunity for the creative community to engage with a new breed of art lover and to consider its new points of view.
dOGUMENTA’s curatorial team is commissioning ten new artworks by established and emerging New York City artists. Artworks will align with the artists’ established practice and also take into account canine experience and perception. Four-legged exhibition-goers will encounter work in a range of media that address formal, conceptual and experiential elements such as color, sound, scent and touch.
Tibi Tibi Neuspiel
A radical, pioneering exhibition, dOGUMENTA takes its name from Documenta, the major art survey that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. Considered the gold standard of exhibitions of contemporary art, Documenta, like dOGUMENTA, is energizing, exciting and unexpected.
Click here to register. Walk-ons will be accommodated based on availability.
ADOPTION DAY: Saturday, August 12
On Saturday, August 12 from 10 am – 1 pm, the pet welfare organization Bideawee will be visiting dOGUMENTA with adorable dogs and puppies available for adoption. Bideawee experts will be on-site to help find you the right pet to match your lifestyle.
Susan Thixton of Truthaboutpetfood.com has a very interesting post today about the increase in complaints stemming from the popular Taste of the Wild dog food. She reports that many of the complaints can be found on ConsumerAffairs.com, and 27 complaints were posted in July alone. She also notes that many consumers also went to the parent company’s Facebook page to post their complaints on Diamond Pet Food. The company (that has been involved in a few recalls in the past) denied that the food had any negative affect on the animals. Wisely, Thixton explains that the best strategy for reporting concerns about a pet food that might be the cause of an illness, is the following:
1. File a report with the FDA.
2. File a report with your state’s Department of Agriculture. You can find info for your state's animal feed authorities here.
3. Call/write the pet food manufacturer.
Make sure you save all the information from the pet food packaging, including the labels. Save the rest of the food (if there is any left) in an airtight container, store in the freezer. Thixton also cautions that filling out forms might be a little time consuming, but it is definitely worth the effort. This is the only way that the food can be investigated, so others won’t eat it.
Dog's name and age: Molly, 4 years old.
Molly was dumped in a rural area next to a busy highway in Tulare, CA. After being rescued they found she had double ear infections and she needed DPLO surgery in order to repair her torn ACL. A very generous friend sponsored her surgery and Molly had a 12-week long recovery. Once her leg was mended, she was adopted by her foster mom's long time friends. They had met her a few times at the foster home during her recovery and fell in love. Her foster mom had also fallen in love with her but since they wanted to continue fostering dogs, it was wonderful that her best friends were able to adopt Molly.
Molly is just so sweet despite all she has experienced in life. She just wants love and she gives a whole of it too. She is a goofy girl!
An article today in The New York Times takes aim at temperament testing in animal shelters hopefully this article will get the attention it deserves from the shelter community. The effectiveness of these kinds of tests, that can result in a dog being swiftly killed if she doesn’t score a passing grade, has long been under examination by humane advocates. Back in 2003, our article, Dog Is In the Details, by Barbara Robertson, looked at this very issue. And more recently Jessica Hekman, DVM, wrote an indepth piece about more recent studies that, “could be interpreted to mean that the two most widely used behavioral assessments in the United States are not doing even a passable job of predicting aggression, and that shelters are not doing much more than flipping a coin when they use an assessment to decide whether a dog will be put on the adoption floor or, potentially, euthanized.”
All these articles noted that testing an animal in a shelter setting is fraught with problems. Even the most modern of shelters can be a place for many dogs, as Dr. Sara Bennett, a vet behaviorist, detailed in the Times piece:
But there are more and more studies, such as the one done co-authored by Dr. Gary Patronek, adjunct professor at the veterinary medicine school at Tufts, and Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council suggesting that shelters should instead devote limited resources to “to spent the time in maximizing opportunities to interact with dogs in normal and enjoyable ways that mirror what they are expected to do once adopted (e.g., walking, socializing with people, playgroups with other dogs, games, training).”
“The tests are artificial and contrived,” said Patronek, who roiled the shelter world last summer when he published an analysis concluding that the tests have no more positive predictive value for aggression than a coin toss.
Plus in many of the overcrowded shelters, the assessments are left up to staff members, who aren’t well trained, and who certainly aren’t behaviorists, to make the final say. “Interpreting dogs, with their diverse dialects and complex body language — wiggling butts, lip-licking, semaphoric ears and tails — often becomes subjective.” As Dr. Hekman noted, she had “observed a behavioral assessment in which a dog was repeatedly harassed with a fake hand because the shelter staff had a suspicion that he would bite. As the tester continued to provoke him long after this sub-test would normally have ended, the dog froze, then growled, then finally bit the hand, but not hard enough to damage it. Despite his restraint in the face of persistent harassment, he was labeled as aggressive by the shelter staff and was euthanized.”
So when space is such a limiting factor, as it is in many shelters, those dogs that attack a fake hand, just make space available for another dog.
The Times pointed out that one of the tests that is most disputed is the one involving the food test. Research has shown that shelter dogs who guard their food bowls, do not necessarily do so at home. And even Emily Weiss, the A.S.P.C.A. researcher whose SAFER behavior assessment is one of the best-known has stepped away from food-bowl tests, saying that 2016 research showed that programs that omit them “do not experience an increase in bites in the shelter or in adoptive homes.” And is study of this study, showed a stunning revelation: of 96 dogs who had tested positive for food aggression in the shelter, only six displayed it in their new homes. This raised more interesting questions: Is it possible that dogs are showing food aggression in the shelter due to stress? Is food-aggression testing completely useless?
Tests that try to assess dog-on-dog aggression using a “fake” dog also have been shown to be less that ideal, a 2015 study showed that shelter dogs responded more aggressively to a fake dog than a real one.
Good news is that the A.S.P.C.A is reporting that annual adoption rates have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011. Euthanasia rates are down, although they still say 670,000 dogs are put to death each year. Some veterinary schools, like the University of California, Davis, Tufts University and Cornell University (that was the first one to offer such a program) are offering shelter-medicine specializations. And more and more shelters are employing more humane, and effective methods such as programs like Aimee Sadler’s Dogs Playing for Life that matches dogs for outside playgroups.
As Natalie DiGiacomo, shelter director of the HSUS has noted: “There is a reform movement underway to improve the quality of life for animals in shelters, and playgroups are pivotal to this effort. Play enriches dogs’ lives and reduces stress so their true personalities show.”
What is important is to get the word out to your local shelters about the unreliability of behavior testing, it is surprising how many still employ them, including the Sue Sternberg’s “assess-a-pet” and the food bowl test. And while the Times piece is valuable because of the large audience it will receive, it did feature a behaviorist who used the fake-hand and food bowl test, but at least accompanied by a more thoughtful examination about the overall behavior of the dog. That dog was saved, but many who fail that test, in most other situations, without the benefit of expert opinion, would not have been. This is a complex situation that no one approach can truly fix. But it is important to heed the findings from Patronek, "Nothing in the prevalence estimates we reviewed suggest that overall, dogs who come to spend time in a shelter (and are not screened out based on history or behavior at intake or shortly thereafter) are dramatically more or less inclined toward problematic warning or biting behavior than are pet dogs in general."
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